Is Justin Lee Now Misrepresenting the Fact That He Misrepresented My Views on the Levitical Prohibitions? – An Open Rejoinder to Justin Lee from Robert Gagnon

Robert Gagnon, author of The Bible and Homosexual Practice, responds in this guest post to Justin Lee, executive director of the Gay Christian Network and author of Torn: Rescuing the Gospel from the Gays-vs.-Christians Debate.  I’m grateful to Gagnon and to Lee for the conversation, and to be clear, I would also welcome Lee to respond here as well. 

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Robert Gagnon

Dear Justin,

I have seen your blog post, “Missing the forest for the A/Bs,” which constitutes your response to my Patheos piece, “Does Leviticus Only Condemn Idolatrous Homosexual Practice? – An Open Letter from Robert Gagnon.” It is a shame you could not have notified me directly when you posted this response, as I notified you of my article in Patheos and indeed had conversation with you privately before posting it. I have three main observations in response to your blog post.

First, I’m sorry to say this but, just as you misrepresented my position on the Levitical prohibitions in your book, so now you are misrepresenting the function of your citation of me in your book. It seems to me that you are doing so in order that you can exonerate yourself from the charge of deliberately misleading readers. In fact, you are just continuing the practice of misleading readers.

You now claim that it should have been “obvious” to readers of your book Torn that you were not asserting that I thought the Levitical prohibitions of male homosexual practice were limited to idolatrous or cultic contexts. In your own words:

“I would have thought that was obvious from my description of him in the book as a Side B scholar [i.e., someone who argues against homosexual sex]; that was the whole point. Did any readers honestly come away with any other impression? If so, I most definitely apologize.”

Doubtlessly you will respond again by saying, “What does the guy want from me? Look, I already apologized!” Justin, it is not much of an apology to apologize only for possibly giving the wrong impression to readers too careless or obtuse to realize the “obvious.” Moreover, your justification in your blog post for writing as you did in your book doesn’t match up with what you actually wrote in your book, not by a long shot.

I never claimed that you characterized me as a supporter of homosexual relationships or in any way were vague on this matter. On the contrary, in your book you clearly characterize me (in a purely negative formulation) as someone “who has spent much of his career studying and writing in condemnation of homosexuality.” Indeed, it would not have served your point about the Levitical prohibitions had you represented me as someone supportive of homosexual practice (a representation that in any case would have been manifestly absurd to most readers).

Rather, your whole point in this section of your book was to say that even “the foremost authority” among “the Bible scholars who argue for the traditional view (that gay sex is always a sin)” agrees with the views of “pro-gay” interpreters that the Levitical prohibitions were “actually intended to condemn ritual cult prostitution, a form of idolatry in that culture that involved male-male sex.” The views of “pro-gay” interpreters, you noted, could be dismissed because “hey, they were arguing in favor of accepting gay relationships, so they might be biased.” Then you immediately add: “What did the other side say? Pretty much the same thing, it turned out” (my emphasis; p. 177). Right after saying this you cite me as exhibit A for showing that “the other side” agrees with the conclusion of “pro-gay” interpreters.

You see the inconsistency between your presentation in your book and your current remarks? In your current revisionist remarks you claim that it should have been “obvious” to readers that I did not think that the Levitical prohibitions of male homosexual practice were limited to the context of idol cults. And why should it have been obvious?  Because you clearly portray me as a scholar opposed to homosexual practice. Yet in your book you tell readers that I am a scholar who believes that homosexual sex is always wrong precisely so that you can validate your conclusion that the Levitical prohibitions probably had in view only idolatrous forms of homosexual practice. Given that even Gagnon believes “pretty much the same thing” about these prohibitions as interpreters supportive of homosexual unions believe, it must be so.

If readers of your book were mistaken in drawing the conclusion that I support your thesis about the Levitical prohibitions it was not because they were careless or obtuse readers but rather because you misled them into thinking that even a scholar opposed to all homosexual sex believed “pretty much the same thing” about these passages that those supportive of homosexual unions did. (By the way, you also left readers with the misleading impression that most biblical scholars who endorse homosexual unions think that the Levitical prohibitions are limited in their application to an idolatrous context. They do not.)

Now it is up to you to decide if you want to give a genuine public apology. I have no expectations of getting one and have not called for one. Yet if you do decide to give one, please acknowledge this obvious point that you cited my opposition to homosexual practice precisely in order to give readers the impression that even such a scholar as Gagnon thinks that the Levitical prohibitions probably don’t apply to non-idolatrous, loving homosexual relationships. That would be infinitely better than the faux apology you have thus far given. Then you might consider (though this too is entirely up to you) apologizing for the second public misrepresentation that you have now made: Claiming that readers should have understood as obvious that I did not believe that the Levitical prohibitions were limited to idolatrous acts simply because you had referred to me as a scholar who thought all “gay sex” was wrong.

Your misleading of readers in your book was all the more inexcusable in view of the fact that the one comment that you lifted from my work and then used to support your position appears in a context whose whole purpose was to demonstrate the exact opposite of what you were arguing. Indeed, even the sentences immediately preceding and immediately following clearly give reasons for why the prohibitions are applicable to all male homosexual sex. There is thus no way in which you could not have known what my position was or the array of arguments that I employed to make my case. Indeed, you have now stated in your response the obvious: that you knew all along that I did not limit the application of the Levitical prohibitions to an idolatrous context and that I had made numerous arguments to substantiate that view. Giving readers the impression that even I admitted the prohibitions aimed only at idolatrous rituals was certainly deceptive.

Your response thus far reminds one of someone whose hand is caught in the proverbial cookie jar and who then tells a second fib to extricate him-or-herself from the consequences of telling the first. In some sense the second failure to tell the truth is worse than the first. Add to that image another of deflecting guilt by blaming the one who calmly pointed out the first fib for having a bad “tone” and we pretty much have a good characterization of your blog post.

My second point is this: You are not being entirely above-board when you chastise me and others for “missing the point entirely” since “the focus” of your book is not on whether “side A” or “side B” is right but rather on “showing love and grace in the gay debate.”

For one thing, you devote two chapters in your book in explaining why you have come to the conclusion that the Bible does not oppose committed homosexual unions (or at least does not oppose such sexual activity clearly and convincingly). You couch it as “only two chapters touch on the A/B Bible debate” out of a fifteen-chapter book (my emphasis). Well, two chapters (roughly a sixth of the book in terms of total page count) is still a significant portion of the book.

Indeed, it is integral to your overall argument that you show persons opposed to homosexual practice that the case for the Bible not rejecting committed homosexual unions is at least a reasonable “side A” view. After all, you want readers to know how “disappointed” you were that the Bible didn’t “clearly answer” your question about the rightness or wrongness of committed homosexual relationships between consenting adults (187-88). You are obviously attempting to elicit sympathy and understanding for why you are now in the place of supporting homosexual activity in the context of committed relationships. In this context, to claim (as you do) that it is unreasonable for anyone to expect you to inform readers about virtually any of the significant counterarguments raised against your own unsubstantiated claims about the Bible is a bit silly.

The very fact that you were willing to misrepresent my views on the Levitical prohibitions (and conveniently ignore all the rest of my work) is testimony to the fact that you did think that it was important to render the Bible harmless to your views. Otherwise, you could easily have added a sentence to the effect that the quotation from my work is accompanied by a half dozen arguments for recognizing that the Levitical prohibitions are absolute in their framing. Instead, you deliberately left readers with the impression that it was otherwise with me.

Even more, if your narrative is going to be one of “disappointment” that the Bible doesn’t clearly address the issue of committed homosexual unions, aren’t you obligated to deal at least on a minimal level with arguments that do in fact show that the authors of Scripture clearly indict homosexual practice absolutely? When you don’t mention such arguments, let alone refute them, and then express “disappointment” that the Bible provided no clear guidance to you, the whole matter has the appearance of a cover-up. Don’t be “disappointed” with the Bible not giving you clear guidance if you show no evidence of examining the full evidence anyway. Are you really “disappointed” that you didn’t “find” the Bible to have a clear position against the kind of homosexual relationship that you inwardly want to have? Or is this merely a self-fulfilled, manufactured “disappointment” on your part?

In addition, I fully understand that the “primary focus” of your book is that Christians who disagree on this issue should show more “grace” to each other. What I’m trying to figure out is how this inoculates you from owning up to misrepresentations that you do make in your book. And now I’m trying to figure out how this “primary focus” entitles you to cover up such misrepresentations in a half apology that really puts the blame on readers allegedly too clueless to recognize what you call “obvious,” then switches the issue to one of “tone” (when there is nothing wrong with the tone of my article), and throughout attempts to ridicule those who raise such concerns as persons who “miss the point entirely.”

My third main point has to do with your constant refrain about needing to “show more grace.” This refrain presupposes what grace must look like irrespective of whether the behavior you are engaging in or want to engage in represents a radical violation in sexual ethics. Yet that assumption is precisely what needs to be challenged.

There is little in your understanding of “showing grace” that could accommodate Paul’s handling of the case of the incestuous man in 1 Corinthians 5. There Paul understands “showing grace” to the offender as calling on the church at Corinth to exclude him from the life of the community until he comes to his senses and repents. That is exactly the kind of reaction that you reject as showing grace. I just think that Paul, the apostle of grace, knew more about grace than you do and that he was not being inconsistent in his application of grace in this circumstance.  Nor do I think that Paul’s actions were at all contradicting the characteristics of love that he put forward later in the letter in ch. 13.

On the contrary, the Corinthian church that was not taking action against this man’s sins was guilty of being unloving and ungracious because apparently they were doing nothing to prevent the man from being excluded from the kingdom of God. Grace and love are manifested not in co-existing in the same fellowship with someone engaging in severe unrepentant sin but rather in waking up the offender to the folly of his or her actions. Then, when repentance is forthcoming, grace and love are manifested in an immediate return and embrace of the former offender without any ongoing penalties (so 2 Cor 2:5-11, which may in fact refer to the penitent incestuous man).

None of this is at odds with Jesus’ teaching about church discipline and forgiveness in Matthew 18. Jesus reached out aggressively in love to reclaim the lost, especially exploitative tax collectors and sexual sinners. There is no evidence that he allowed to remain in his circle persons who showed not the slightest inclination to repent in response to that outreach. Tax collectors were not still exploiting people economically and sexual sinners were not continuing in gross immorality. This should be clear enough from reading in Luke the conclusions of the story of the sinful woman (7:44-50), the parable of the lost son (15:21, 24, 32), the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector (18:13), and the story of Zacchaeus (19:8-10). Compare also the Apostolic Decree in Acts 15 where Gentiles are not to be admitted into the church if they continue unrepentantly in sexual immorality of an egregious sort (porneia).

My point here is not to say that all offenders must immediately be put on church discipline. Unbelievers need some exposure to the gospel so that they can come to a saving knowledge of the truth and leave behind behaviors that characterize those who will not inherit the kingdom of God. Self-professed believers who persist in gross immorality may be given a limited period of time to turn from such practices. (See further my online discussion, “Church Policy as regards Homosexual Practice: Membership and Ordained Ministry”).

My point is to show that the way in which the church and individuals manifest grace and love (not whether they do so) to those with whom they disagree is determined largely by whether the beliefs or behaviors in question put the offenders at high risk of not inheriting God’s kingdom (i.e. eternal life). The way in which grace and love is manifested to a self-professed believer who has a different view about baptism or the celebration of the Lord’s Supper but still is within the pale of orthodoxy is going to be different in many respects from the way in which grace and love should be manifested to a self-professed believer who is knowingly ripping off the elderly of their life savings or having sexual relations in the context of adult-consensual incest, polyamory, or homosexual practice.

For this reason doing one’s homework about what the Scripture says about homosexual practice is indispensible for determining what the shape of grace and love will be in interacting with those who engage in homosexual practice or any other form of egregious immorality. I continue to see little evidence that you have had such a serious engagement with Scripture. I see rather avoidance of main arguments against the positions about Scripture that you espouse in your book.

You say that you are “still trying to figure out how to graciously respond” to my offer regarding a public debate of what Scripture says. You don’t want to be “pulled into the very kinds of ungracious us-versus-them battles that my whole book is about trying to avoid!” Then you say “I’ll even do a ‘debate’ if it can be done with a gracious tone and in the context of a broader dialogue about grace and understanding on both sides.”

I have no problem with doing a debate with “a gracious tone.” I’m not going to call you names or shout at you or be angry at you. I’m not going to talk over you when it is your turn to respond within an allotted time. I’m not against you but against what you are promoting as a focus (not “the primary focus”) of your life and ministry. I want your life to reflect the sexual purity that God asks of us all.

At the same time I am not going to pretend falsely that your case for not seeing Jesus and the authors of Scripture as opposed to all homosexual intercourse is as reasonable as the case for viewing Jesus and the authors of Scripture as affirming a male-female requirement for all sexual relations and as proscribing homosexual practice as among the severest of sexual offenses. The case for the former is not even remotely close to the case for the latter. I will make that evident by laying out the array of strong arguments for reading Scripture as opposed to every and any form of homosexual practice. I will listen carefully to your arguments (all of which I have heard dozens of times before, based on what I’ve read from your book). If the arguments don’t hold up to a careful reading of the biblical witness I will carefully explain why that is the case.

Now you may regard an exchange of that sort as inherently “ungracious.” You may insist that it is “ungracious” for me to publicly demonstrate and document that your views on the Bible and homosexual practice have little to commend them from a literary, historical, and hermeneutical vantage point. May I suggest that if this is what you regard as ungracious you are merely seeking cover from a rigorous examination of your presuppositions?

We can certainly extend the discussion to “a dialogue about grace and understanding on both sides.” In fact, you can do anything you want with the time allotted to you. I will certainly address what grace and love look like when responding to a self-professed Christian who is engaging in, or is looking for opportunities to engage in, or is encouraging others to engage in what the writers of Scripture and Jesus view as sexually immoral practices that can endanger the offender’s inheritance of the kingdom of God. But I will spend most of my time in making the case from Scripture and, to a lesser extent, philosophical reasoning and science, since how grace and love is to be manifested will be determined largely from whether the behavior in question constitutes immorality of an egregious sort.

You mention Matthew Vines. If you want to have him there with you, great, the more the merrier—as long as the time given to me equals the time given to both of you collectively. So if each of you wants to take 35-40 minutes in your initial presentation, then I would be allowed 35-40 minutes before or after Matthew and 35-40 minutes before or after you. If each of you are allowed 10 minutes to respond to my presentations, then I would be allowed 10 minutes to respond to Matthew and 10 minutes to respond to you. The same would apply to our time of responding to questions from the audience. Time will be scarce but I’m willing to take 10 minutes out of my presentation time to address what “gracious interaction” means. You can take that time and more, if you wish, to address the same topic.

So how about it? If I get your go-ahead we can see what church or churches might be interested in funding such an event (I’m sure that we will have no problem finding one). I recommend having the whole thing on video so that others can have the benefit of seeing our engagement in these important matters.

About Timothy Dalrymple

Timothy Dalrymple was raised in non-denominational evangelical congregations in California. The son and grandson of ministers, as a young boy he spent far too many hours each night staring at the ceiling and pondering the afterlife.
 
In all his work he seeks a better understanding of why people do, and do not, come to faith, and researches and teaches in religion and science, faith and reason, theology and philosophy, the origins of atheism, Christology, and the religious transformations of suffering

  • Jason Van Haselen

    Lee and Vines v. Gagnon and White?

    • Charles_H_Spurgeon

      Whitefield vs Wesley didn’t end the Calvinism debate, and I highly doubt Lee & Vines vs Gagnon & White will bring a consensus on homophobia. But one may recall that, while Wesley kept trying to pick a fight, Whitefield headed to America to spread the Gospel.

      Bobby just needs to simmer down; Justin should continue following George’s example of sharing the message of Hope with those who need it most.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174815915 Kathy Verbiest Baldock

    Here is what I read:

    “I require you to acknowledge that I am smarter than you.

    You need to apologize that you did not say what I said the way I wanted you to say it.

    You don’t really need to apologize, but I want you to do it publicly when you do what you should do. If you don’t, I will write another 10K words about you.

    yada, yada, yada

    I know your book is about gracious engagement so that people can know God loves them, but I don’t care about that. I need to step all over that and correct you.

    yada, yada, yada

    Yeah, on the playground at lunch time. You bring your gang and I’ll bring mine.

    I won’t listen to a thing you say because I’ve heard it all, and I will sit on my hands until the seconds tick away so that I can once again show everyone again how smart I am. Forget grace and love. I get to define those terms and I dictate what all words mean and what I think you mean they mean.

    So, how about it? Let’s do this in Jesus Name to the glory of the Kingdom.”

    Did I get that right?

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174815915 Kathy Verbiest Baldock

      I am sure this will be proofed for typos and grammar — it is intended to sound childish. When my kids did this to the other, I put them in time out. They turned out to be respectful humans.

      • William Cheung

        Kathy, don’t you have a Kent Paris seminar to interrupt? It would be actually be much better thing to do, than than writing ad hominem attacks on Dr. Gagnon under the pretence of witty commentary. By the way, I hope you also taught your children to never misrepresent another person’s point of view, lie about and, and do it further, as Justin has. Have you?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174815915 Kathy Verbiest Baldock

          I already spoke and wrote about Kent Paris here (thank you for the plug)http://canyonwalkerconnections.com/ex-gay-kent-paris-at-summit-christian-church-nevada/ It was quite an event! Kent Paris is member of the Restored Hope Network , of which Mr. Gagnon is a member and on the Board. It was somethin’ to witness him stand in a church and lie about his past and a court case in which he broke the law and blamed “radical gay activists”. He then misrepresented the LGBT population in wild lies with data from the 80′s that was no seen as valid back then. Did you read the post? Whoa–if he is typical of the membership of RHN, that is not a good sign.

          I think my witty commentary on the above article is, well, witty and accurate. Thank you for noticing!

          I have trained my children excellently having even homeschooled them for six years and have not, that I recall, heard any negative commentaries on their character. Thank you for allowing me space to also praise the fine adults they have become. Parenting is a challenge and the fruit of the work comes in the blessing of the responsible, loving, compassionate adults they become. They sure do learn valuable lessons at home. Do you have children William?

          • William Cheung

            Your comments seem pretty slanderous yourself, Kathy. Really Christ-like there. I notice how apologists for homosexuality just love to stress love and grace, until you call them out on their lack of good argumentation and critical thinking. Then – look out! The knives and the screeching come out. Funnily enough, what you can’t do is invalidate the stories of Ken and other men and women who have resolved the issues underlying their SSA. One would hope that your call for inclusiveness would include their lives and the validity of their stories as well. Oh well, it is good to dream. Have fun trolling Christian websites, Kathy!

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174815915 Kathy Verbiest Baldock

            I said NOTHING about the way Paris lives his life. I wrote about the points he lied about. I wrote about his integrity and the integrity of him message and stand by every word of it. “Trolling Christian websites? WHAT are you talking about? Actually, I don’t care to know. We differ, let’s just move on.

      • Holly

        But you didn’t. What happened?

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174815915 Kathy Verbiest Baldock

          I didn’t what? I am missing this.

  • http://www.facebook.com/tscottmorrison Scott Morrison

    I am sorry to say this: But please for the love of G-D shut the Fratada UP!! OMG. You sound so childish. I mean even the name of this so called open letter has my head spinning.

    I will admit, that I am sick and tired of persons using their interpretation of the Bible to justify their hatred. You do realise that it is just your interpretation. There are others who strongly disagree with you.

    I say this take the plank out of your own eye, before you try and remove the speck from mine. Go deal with your own issues of divorce, the shepherds robbing the sheep blind, greed, lust, adultery, fornication, gluttony, and the list goes on and on and on. But NO. you would rather scream about somebody else’s perceived sins, rather than honestly deal with your own before G-D.

    • Holly

      It’s a very well-studied, well-educated interpretation based upon fact. Better than most.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/C-Francis-Habeck/100002426016552 C Francis Habeck

      “Go deal with your own issues of divorce, the shepherds robbing the sheep blind, greed, lust, adultery, fornication, gluttony,…”

      Most Christians do “deal with ” these issues but the topic here is not one of them.

      “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and understanding in their own sight!” (Is5:20-21)

      Sexual dis-orientation is NOT NATURAL. It is NOT NORMAL.

      However there is a prevailing attitude in ‘enlightened’ society to NOT CONDEMN -anything-. And the more perverse it is, the more likely it is that tolerance for it is militantly promoted. However, these same people who refuse to acknowledge and condemn “SIN” are the first to condemn a True Christian for calling sin, “sin”; as we are called to do: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather REPROVE THEM.” (Eph5:11)

      Notice what God calls an “abomination”…

      Le 18:22 And you shall not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is a perversion.

      Le 20:13 And a man who lies with a male as one lies with a woman, both of them have done a detestable thing; they shall certainly be put to death; their blood shall be on them.

      Rom1:26-27 “For this reason God gives them up to vile passions. For even their women change the natural use for what is contrary to nature. Likewise also the men, abandoning the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men with men performing what is shameful, and receiving the retribution within themselves, the penalty which is fitting for their error.”

      Homosexuality is a ‘behavior’! Notice God’s verdict for their judgment is based on “those who PRACTICE such things” (being deserving of death). (Rom1:32) A person who lies is called a “liar”. One who steals is a “thief”. And those who practice sexually skewed acts are an “abomination” to the Most High. (Lev18:22) Their identity is “sinner”. Gay-ness is a ‘behavioral’ disorder; because of the sin nature. God did not create “gay-ness”. He created them “male and female” and when He was finished creating, He declared it “extremely good”. (Gen1:27,31) Women are not born into male bodies, or vise-versa.

      Mankind certainly laughs God in the face as they carry on with their perversities; but they will find out at the Judgment how many “rights” they have!

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  • LexCro

    As per the comments below (and most of the comments from the last Gagnon-on-Lee post here at PF), folks rarely engage Gagnon with respect to his Scripture, social science, and logical evidences. It’s easier to just say, “He’s a meanie!” than to actually wrestle with his arguments. Even those who start out claiming that they oppose him on interpretive and intellectual grounds usually fink out and opt for the purely sentimental once they are in dialogue with him. Why? Because the gay and pro-gay lobby runs on sentiment–appeals to the heart that deceptively circumvent the mind. Justin Lee is no exception here and neither are a lot of the folks who are railing against Gagnon.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jerome-Reiter/1145246501 Jerome Reiter

      Gagnon is writing on a topic in which he has no training, education or wisdom – sexual orientation issues. He ignores the medical and scientific evidence available to him today. His claims are so far outside the mainstream he is not engaged seriously because he is not involved in any meaningful discussion, just a very verbose theological attack on a minority group of humans. His writings are not scientific or scholarly or medical, he merely uses ancient scriptures to attack those he does not understand. It is not the pro-gay lobby which he disagrees with, it is the leaders of the evangelical ex-gay movement. They now admit that nobody changes his sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual no matter how dedicated they are to their faith. Google “Exodus admits gays can’t change” and Love in Action leader admits nobody changed from gay to straight. Every scientific medical association concurs based on overwhelming evidence that sexual orientation is not a choice and cannot be changed at will.

      • LexCro

        Mr. Reiter,

        I don’t think your charges against Gagnon stick. Here’s why:

        (1) Gagnon’s primary context is that of the mainline church/seminary (Presbyterian Church, USA, to be specific). Being that this is a live issue in all mainline denominations, it makes sense that he would avail himself of the Bible/Christian theology to press his case. Many of his critics/detractors are also using Scripture to buttress their points, but no one ever derides them for this.

        (2) However, Gagnon, like many other Christian scholars and theologians who critique homosexual praxis, regularly avail themselves of data from the social sciences on homosexuality. In fact, Gagnon regularly utilizes social science data from gay/pro-gay advocates that actually supports his arguments. For instance, I once heard him rightly cite Dr. Michael Bailey’s study of long-term relationships among gay men. Bailey’s conclusions were that promiscuity is endemic to gay male relationships, even in the long-term ones. Bailey is the chair of psychology at Northwestern U. (not exactly known for being a bastion of conservatism). He’s also a pro-gay and pro-gay marriage advocate. But to his credit he published data that doesn’t tow the party line. I’ve heard Gagnon quote this research in context. If you peruse Gagnon’s site (robgagnon.net) you’ll find that he has cited social science research in some of his articles. Also, in some of the debates he has had (some of which are found online), he cites the same research, with most of said research coming from secular sources.

        (3) You seem to be equating the mainstream consensus with scientific fact. To date, there is no scientific data to say that homosexual desire/orientation cannot be changed. What do you do with people for whom change has happened? I know people who are no longer gay and no longer living gay lifestyles. Do their voices not count? Some DO switch from homosexual orientation to heterosexual orientation. And this is a phenomena found among the religious; it happens among the non-religious as well. Some folks don’t change their orientation, but they opt for celibacy (a phenomena found mostly among the religious). The fact that the outcomes are not predictable doesn’t mean they are impossible. Also, it is probably true that the reason there’s no one-size-fits-all approach/resolution to homosexuality is because there is no monolithic “homosexuality”. It’s more accurate to say that there are “homosexualities,” a behavior with different roots. Once you acknowledge this, Exodus Intl.’s naivete becomes obvious: They were looking at the phenomena as a single-strand issue rather than a multi-faceted one. As someone who has ministered to gay folks before, I knew this before their most recent 180 turn on the issue.

        Simply because the mainstream chooses not to report on this doesn’t mean these folks don’t exists. Also, the sciences (biological and social) usual don’t yield the results that the gay and pro-gay lobby is after. For instance, it was fashionable (and sadly still is) in the early 90′s to posit that homosexual orientation was biologically determined. But gay scientist Simon LeVay, the grand-father of this kind of research, claims that no such evidence (popularly called “the gay gene”) has been found. In fact, most scientists (no matter what their religious/ideological bent) are highly pessimistic about ever being able to turn up any such evidence. And there is evidence that in some instances gay/pro-gay advocates put political pressure on scientists to sway popular-level reporting. Non-Christian psychologist/physicist Dr. Jeffrey Satinover chronicles the way that gay/pro-gay advocates have put fifth-column pressure on the mental health profession in order to elicit pro-gay outcomes in the public square. He documents this in both “The Trojan Couch” and “Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth.” In fact, his account of how homosexuality was unscientifically taken off of the APA’s DSM in the 1970′s (due to gay/pro-gay pressure, not science) is backed up by–of all things–an episode of NPR’s “This American Life” in which a former APA member who came out of the closet later in life told his daughter (who narrated the segment) the whole story about how a “GayPA” (contra APA) was formed for exactly this purpose. This, and other data, demonstrates that what’s “mainstream” is not always scientifically accurate.

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174815915 Kathy Verbiest Baldock

          How could you and I each listen to 81 Words and get a completely different understanding. Did you know Socriates son has just recently talked about coming out to his NARTH founding father ? Dad accepted son at home and collected $$$ changing other peoples’ sons. search driftwood and find the interview from earlier in the month.
          And, just as a matter of personal integrity — I am a FAN of people who use their REAL names and identities when they write long missives so that we can all understand WHO it is that is making the statements.
          My name, my face, my integrity, my words.

          • LexCro

            Mrs. Baldock,

            Forgive me if I seem obtuse, but I’m not sure as to how your comment addresses what I’ve put forth.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174815915 Kathy Verbiest Baldock

            got a name and an identity? If not, I have covered what i need to cover.

          • LexCro

            You seem to be selectively put off by my lack of a name/face. You initiated with me in this thread, not the other way around.

          • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1174815915 Kathy Verbiest Baldock

            I have this incredible ability to see into the future (by reading other posts) and can safely assume you will go on and on and on until I agree. Not going to happen. So, I choose a cut off

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fred-Smith/100001817115732 Fred Smith

        Maybe you would like to tell that those whom I have ministered to who have come to Christ and turned their back on their old lifestyle. Science has proven nothing and only raised a good many more questions than it has answered. Name for me one empirical diagnostic test that determines one is gay, lesbian, bisexual, gender neutral, a zoophile, or a pedophile–all self-identified traits. I thought so. At best the “science” is inconclusive and so often filled with sample bias and scientific oversight. Truth is never determined by consensus. Your comment is right on one thing, nobody can change at will. It is only by saving grace that one is truly transformed.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=205700431 Dennis Paul Carreiro

      Perchance it is because his amazingly disrespectful tone when discussing the homosexual community? I’m tired of people talking about issues that they really know nothing about. You “Christians” can’t have it both ways!! I feel sorry for you, all of you….because it’s going to be a HUGE wake up call when you get to Heaven and see the gays walking around…and then seeing St. Peter closing the gates right in front of your face, because you neglected to do the most important thing….you forgot to love your neighbor as yourself. You spent so much time spreading your hate and disgust that you forgot to love. Enjoy!

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/C-Francis-Habeck/100002426016552 C Francis Habeck

        It is true that the “Christian” is known by his “love.”(Jn13:35) This love, however, is for the “brethren.” (1Pt1:22,1Jn3:14-16)

        However, there is also a “just” hatred for sin and the sinner. The psalmist said, “Do I not hate them, O LORD, who hate You? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with perfect hatred; I count them my enemies.”(Ps139:21-22) And then… “The fear of the LORD is to hate evil; Pride and arrogance and the evil way And the perverse mouth I hate. (Pr8:13)

        What separates us from God is “sin.” “But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” (Isa 59:2)

        “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness; who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, and understanding in their own sight!” (Is5:20-21)

        Sexual dis-orientation is NOT NATURAL. It is NOT NORMAL.

        However there is a prevailing attitude in ‘enlightened’ society to NOT CONDEMN -anything-. And the more perverse it is, the more likely it is that tolerance for it is militantly promoted. However, these same people who refuse to acknowledge and condemn “SIN” are the first to condemn a True Christian for calling sin, “sin”; as we are called to do: “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather REPROVE THEM.” (Eph5:11)

        Notice what God calls an “abomination”…

        Le 18:22 And you shall not lie with a male as one lies with a woman; it is a perversion.

        Le 20:13 And a man who lies with a male as one lies with a woman, both of them have done a detestable thing; they shall certainly be put to death; their blood shall be on them.

        Rom1:26-27 “For this reason God gives them up to vile passions. For even their women change the natural use for what is contrary to nature. Likewise also the men, abandoning the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust toward one another, men with men performing what is shameful, and receiving the retribution within themselves, the penalty which is fitting for their error.”

        Homosexuality is a ‘behavior’! Notice God’s verdict for their judgment is based on “those who PRACTICE such things” (being deserving of death). (Rom1:32) A person who lies is called a “liar”. One who steals is a “thief”. And those who practice sexually skewed acts are an “abomination” to the Most High. (Lev18:22) Their identity is “sinner”. Gay-ness is a ‘behavioral’ disorder; because of the sin nature. God did not create “gay-ness”. He created them “male and female” and when He was finished creating, He declared it “extremely good”. (Gen1:27,31) Women are not born into male bodies, or vise-versa.

        Mankind certainly laughs God in the face as they carry on with their perversities; but they will find out at the Judgment how many “rights” they have!

    • William Cheung

      ” It’s easier to just say, “He’s a meanie!” than to actually wrestle with his arguments. ” Ding! Ding! Ding!

    • Steve Schuh

      LexCro, you may have missed Justin Lee’s point. Many pro-gay scholars AGREE with Dr. Gagnon that these Bible verses were informed by a culture in which homosexuality primarily showed up as a form of idolatry (as it does throughout the Bible). In his book Lee doesn’t disagree with Gagnon on this history – in fact, he finds it persuasive, albeit for the opposite side. There’s no need to argue with Gagnon on this point. Obviously he’s is not too pleased about that.

      • LexCro

        Mr. Schuh,

        I actually do understand this point. I’m not sure which of my posts your comment addresses.

  • Kit Marlowe

    I”ll happily engage Gagnon with respect to his scripture, social science, and logical “evidences.” His personality (borderline and narcissistic) is another 25,000 word essay in itself, but it determines his choices of “evidence” and their presentation.
    As to his knowledge and choice of scripture, THIS example, deriding Alan Chambers: “Alan’s approach of providing assurances of salvation to those actively engaged in sexually immoral intercourse is a very different approach than Jesus’ and Paul’s warnings that immoral sexual behavior, among other offenses, can get one excluded from the kingdom of God and thrown into hell.”
    Please cite the JESUS passage for that, Gagnon.
    And please explain your emphasis on “FUNDING” an event, rather than “HOSTING.” The focus on “the money” rather than place, time, and other details displays a distinct Mammonite tinge.

    • LexCro

      K. Marlowe,

      You said: Please cite the JESUS passage for that, Gagnon (“that” referring to immoral sexual behavior that excludes one from the kingdom and lands one in hell, as per Gagnon’s rejoinder to Chambers).

      Here’s Jesus: “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to be thrown into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away; it is better for you to lose one of your members than for your whole body to go into hell.” (Matthew 5:27-30).

      Is this what you were looking for?

    • Jeremy Chervaux

      Kit,

      Gagnon will only come back with his weak and dubious argument of “intertexuality” and Jesus’ adherence to the Old Testament law since Jesus was a Jew. His entire book was taken apart piece by piece by the French classicist Jean-Fabrice Nardelli in 65 page paper posted on Box Turtle Bulletin website, where he exposes Gagnon as a very poor scholar who writes with obvious personal bias. Gagnon’s homosexual scholarship can be summarized by Nardelli as follows:

      “Gagnon is nothing but an entrenched essentialist student of
      homosexuality and a believer in the framework theological-scientific of the
      male and female sexes who will never admit that biological sex is dependent on
      culture and ideology, therefore historically determined, and that his critical
      box of tools amounts to the following analogy : provided that the lexemes
      ‘red’, ‘blue’, and ‘white’ appear in a short passage which, conjecturally,
      could be made to yield the ideas of ‘country’ or ‘nation’, he trumpets that it
      must be the United States and nothing else, although France has indeed the same colours in her flag.”

      Further, on Gagnon’s scholarship he state the following:

      “The level of naivety, superficiality and incompetence in
      this section of his book, whether on matters technical (76) or on issues of interpretation (77), puts the other existing accounts of Mesopotamian homosexuality by fellow evangelicals (those in Wold, Out of Order. Homosexuality in the Bible and theAncient Near East, Grand Rapids, 1998, or Davidson) on a class apart, despitetheir insufficiencies linguistic and text-critical and their ideologicalshortcomings. Even if one eschews a comparison between Gagnon’s text and thebest short survey at hand (78), his pages have no claim to be called a fairreview of the Egyptian, Levantine and Assyro-Babylonian traces of male-male sex and affect (79). Was it really so difficult, for a biblical scholar untrained in the relevant languages but accustomed to juggling with Semitic documents and their huge critical literature, to reap the benefits of the best scholarship in the field and then proceed without compromising the indispensable awareness that even the most reasonable conclusions grounded in solid facts and arrived at by a sturdy-looking network of conjectures might be found, in the end, to be fallacious and not square really well with the evidence (80)? The unpretending L’homosexualité dans le Proche-Orient ancien et la Bible by T. Römer and L.Bonjour (Geneva, 2005), pp. 13-35, 80-102, shows that it was no superhumantask, simply one which demanded care, modesty, the control of the limits, philological and anthropological, between which the sense is to be fought within the primary documents, and a strong sense of self-effacement. In the place of it, we are dealing with a scholar who holds his farthing candle to the sun, but remains silent whenever a difficulty unmapped in his sources crosses his path.”

      For a full text reading go here:

      http://www.boxturtlebulletin.com/btb/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/nardelli-3.pdf

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=205700431 Dennis Paul Carreiro

    Wow. I suddenly had a flashback to my first job when I was 16 years old and my boss was a big bully who pushed people around using big words and claiming to know about every topic…and was smarter than everyone else. Unfortunately, the thing is this…there is not an ounce of class oozing from Mr. Gagnon.

    “I’m not calling on you for an apology” Really? Well, please….graciously we all thank you. I don’t know Mr. Gagnon. I know nothing about him. However, I will say this…I don’t really care to know him. He seems like nothing more than a seeker of 15 minutes of fame.

  • http://benirwin.wordpress.com/ Ben Irwin

    Wow. Gagnon could give my toddler a run for her money in the tantrum department. (But at least my two-year-old isn’t a narcissist.)

  • Jakeithus

    While I might not totally agree with his approach, Mr. Gagnon has a right to respond to the misrepresentation of his work by Justin Lee, and the unsatisfactory response to the original article. Probably more confrontational that I would’ve personally handled it, but to make that the central point of what was posted doesn’t help anything either.

    It’s an emotional issue on both sides, so neither Mr. Gagnon’s post, nor the response in the comments surprises me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jon-Rowe/1469347192 Jon Rowe

    This guy uses way too many words to make his points.

  • http://www.facebook.com/iriskayan.bakalar Iris Ka-Yan Bakalar

    Justin has apologised if he’s made a mistake – he’s human, he’s not God, so yes, there’s certainly a possibility he could’ve expressed himself better, or perhaps made a mistake. So, Gagnon, what is it that you want? You say you don’t want an apology, then you come on here and go yada yada and my GOSH your letter was long, and what? Ok, even if Justin made a mistake, the only question I need to ask is this.

    Based on the evidence of the way Justin has communicated, and the way you have communicated and refused to let go, which of you is more Christ-like?

    I’d have to say Justin Lee.

    So ok, Gagnon, there’s of course a chance you could win in the theology department. Justin has never claimed to be a theologian – I don’t doubt he can make mistakes. Ok, Gagnon, you win.

    But in the department of being full of grace, of being loving, of being utterly humble – of being very much like our beloved Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ – I’m afraid I’ve got to vote for Justin on this occasion.

    You’re the selfish servant who won’t forgive (assuming there was even a mistake on Justin’s part) – Justin has apologised for any wrong he’s caused you and has clearly stated it was not intentional. So let it go – it’s not a pretty sight to see a grown man throw a tantrum.

  • Alan

    Wow. I mean…. just …. wow.

    Seriously, someone needs to back away from the keyboard. I’ve seen Gagnon go off the deep end on people before, but this time is pretty remarkable, even for him. Here’s what will happen next, for those who haven’t seen Gagnon in action before: I’d bet money that he will respond to any comment that he perceives as negative here with a 10 page screed. Each.

    (Obsession: it’s not just a perfume any more.)

    http://xkcd.com/386/

  • William Cheung

    Dr. Gagnon, you hit the nail on the head. It’s pretty unfortunate to have to deal with dishonest people who apologize for their dishonesty with further dishonesty.

  • Steve Schuh

    What was the misrepresentation? Though Dr. Gagnon downplays it, he does admit – with many pro-gay scholars – that the Levitical prohibitions were produced in a culture in which the primary form of gay sex was homosexual cult prostitution (Gagnon, p.130). Indeed, the Bible only mentions homosexual sex in the immediate context of pagan religion.

    But from this mostly shared understanding of the cultural, biblical context, Gagnon and Lee move in opposite directions: Gagnon strips the Bible of its history to manufacture a generic, fundamentalist principle that can be applied without reference to context or values. This is his concentric circles theory, starting in Sodom and radiating out to prohibit all homosexual activity, always and everywhere.

    Lee, on the other hand, approaches these verses with evangelical caution. He notes the significant differences between cultic prostitution in ancient Israel and same-sex marriage today, and he questions whether the biblical prohibitions are rightly applied in such dissimilar situations.

    It’s a question of hermeneutics, and which interpretive method preserves the integrity of the Bible. To his credit, and as Lee points out, Gagnon starts out being fair with biblical history … right up to the point he ignores it.

    • LexCro

      Mr. Schuh,

      Can you please demonstrate how Lev. 18:22, Rom. 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:9, and 1 Tim. 1:10 only speak to homosexual sex acts in the context of cult prostitution?

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1176355049 Scot Miller

        LexCro — You could read Gagnon’s book for a demonstration. If I remember correctly, he acknowledges that same-sex cultic practices are found in the Ancient Near East and in the New Testament world. The problem is that he has to create an argument to assert that these passages also apply to any same-sex coupling This is where he overstates the strength of his argument and reaches conclusions that are not fully supported by the evidence.

        • LexCro

          Scot,

          We are all in agreement that same-sex cultic practices are found in the ANE and in NT times. No problem there. The problem is leveraging that contextual point to make a case that the OT and NT prohibitions on same-sex intercourse are limited to cultic practices. For instance, we know that extra-marital heterosexual intercourse was also part of OT and NT cultic practices, but we don’t claim that the OT and NT prohibitions on fornication and adultery were limited to a cultic worship context. Why? Because the OT and NT prohibitions on fornication and adultery are not qualified by references to these cultic contexts. They are categorical in nature. The same is true of the OT and NT prohibitions on same-sex intercourse. If the OT and NT authors had had these qualifications in mind they would have mentioned them. Also, it is odd, don’t you think, that no Jew before or after Jesus and no Christian ever allowed cultic qualifications to color their view of same-sex intercourse. Jews and Christians (until late 20th century/early 21st century) have always maintained that these were categorical prohibitions.

          • Guest

            Thanks for engaging, LexCro. The five verses you mention can only be considered “categorical in nature” if one strips them of not only their historical, cultural context – which you and Gagnon seem ready to do – but also of their textual context. You say, “If the OT and NT authors had had these qualifications in mind they would have mentioned them.” I contend that this is exactly what the authors did.

            For example, reading all of Lev.18 and 20 (and not just 18:22) we see homosexual acts were one of the several sacrilegious practices by which the surrounding nations defiled themselves in pagan idolatry before Molech. Then we can review Israel’s history of temple prostitution to Molech and Asherah, with references back to the Levitical prohibitions, in Deut.23:17-18; 1 Kings 14:22-24; 15:11-14; 22:41 46; 2 Kings 23:4-25. Then we study Romans 1-3 (not just 1:26-27) and see how Paul cleverly leverages the Jews’ history of pagan idolatry – with pointed mention to male and female temple prostitution (according to the early Church fathers) – to draw both Jews and pagans into the gospel story. Finally, on reading all of 1 Cor.6 and 1 Tim.1 we see both passages also reference prostitution and idolatry and that Paul connects these back to the OT prohibitions with his unique vocabulary (which is not reflected in English translation).

            So, far from offering a categorical prohibition of homosexual sex of all kinds, the biblical writers only ever talk about homosexual intercourse of one kind, within a very particular (and extinct) setting. It is not at all clear that their condemnation should now apply to something wholly different.

          • Steve Schuh

            I tried deleting the reply above (“Thanks for engaging …”) to fix a grammatical error, but now it’s posting under Guest. That’d be me.

          • LexCro

            Mr. Schuh,

            Thanks to you as well for continuing to engage me on
            this topic. I must say I still find your analysis faulty for a few
            reasons.

            First, if we’re going to be hermeneutically consistent,
            then the principle should apply beyond homosex-idolatry. In other
            words, because we know that heterosexual intercourse also occurred in
            conjunction with idolatry, then why not take the OT/NT prohibitions on
            fornication and adultery to refer to these activities only within a
            cultic context?

            The Lev. 18:21 reference to Molech worship
            explicitly speaks to child-sacrifice. This no more qualifies the
            prohibition against homosexuality in v. 22 than it qualifies the
            prohibition against having sex with your kinsman’s wife (v. 20) or the
            prohibition
            against bestiality (v. 23). The same is true of the idolatry references in Lev. 20:1-6. Here, would you say that the references
            to
            these cultic practices also qualify adultery, incest, and bestiality
            (20:10,11-12, 14, and 15-16, respectively)? Why only the homosexual
            intercourse mentioned in verse 13? Considering the whole-book context of
            Leviticus, it is characteristic of the work to list sundry commands and
            prohibitions without any of them necessarily qualifying the other.

            Similarly,
            the references to idolatry in Rom. 1 and 1 Cor. 6 are typical of Paul’s
            vice-lists in passages like Gal. 5:19-21; Eph.
            5:3-5; and Col. 3:5,
            8. The laundry list of sins in Paul’s vice-lists don’t automatically
            qualify one another (unless said qualification is explicitly stated). In
            the same way, there is no reason to think that Paul’s reference to
            idolatry in Rom. 1:22-23 qualifies the denunciation of same-sex
            intercourse in 1:26-27 (the same is true his reference to prostitution
            in 1 Cor. 6). Moreover, in Rom. 1, Paul is demonstrating how the vices
            he mentions are a deviation from the created order of Genesis 1-2. This
            is seen plainly from the start of the argument in Rom. 1:20. Paul’s
            whole argument is structured as the opposite of God’s created order. In
            this way, Paul’s reference to gay male and lesbian coitus in 1:26-27 is
            meant to show the opposite God’s male-female prerequisite for sexual
            holiness. This is the same conclusion that pro-gay NT scholar Dan Via
            comes to.

            Lastly, your contextual arguments rest on restricting the practice
            of same-sex intercourse to a cultic context. However, being that
            same-sex intercourse could be found within and without cultic contexts
            in the OT and NT world (especially in the latter), we must rely on the
            authors to tell us which one they meant. The lack of qualification tells
            us that these prohibitions are categorical in nature.

          • Steve Schuh

            A belated note to add just two points. First, Paul is not making an argument about male/female “created order” in Romans 1 as this would be of no use to his purpose. However it is his purpose to illustrate that the history of false worship (pagan idolatry) — shared by Gentiles AND Jews — demonstrates that Jews have no special status by which they might avoid Christ. Israel’s history of temple prostitution, referred to here by Paul, is documented in the Bible. This is the fulcrum of his argument, not an unrelated aside about gender roles. His logic only works if 1.26-27 is understood as referring to temple prostitution (only the male version of which is homosexual, BTW).

            Second, this cultural context — which is consistent throughout the Bible — is not peripheral but critical to our interpretive task, both in exegesis and hermeneutics. It is the only clue we have as to how the original writers and readers understood homosexual activity. As Gagnon admits, all the biblical evidence points to only one kind of homosexual expression: male temple prostitution. They apparently had experience of heterosexual activity of many kinds (some of which they condemned and we approve, and some which they approved and we condemn), But when it comes to gay sex, they only every mention one. If we’re being conservative, we can’t automatically generalize their specific prohibition, especially to expressions apparently unknown to them and of significantly different qualities. One must engage in a much wider form of biblical ethics to try to condemn all homosexual behavior because a simple appeal to the Bible doesn’t do it.

          • LexCro

            Mr. Schuh,

            As for your first point: If Paul is not making an argument about male/female created order, then please explain Rom. 1:20, which reads,

            “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.” (NASB)

            I’m not sure how else to take Rom. 1:20. Paul’s subsequent points are tethered to Rom. 1:20 (and its Genesis 1-2 echoes) via referential prepositions. So when Paul writes in Rom. 1:21 “For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks…” the “for” in Rom. 1:21 (Greek: “dioti”) is referring back to Rom. 1:20. The same is true for “therefore” (Greek “dio”) in Rom. 1:24 (“Therefore God gave them over in the lusts of their hearts to impurity…”) and the phrase “for this reason” (Greek: “dia”) in Rom. 1:26 (“For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions…”). The immediate context of the passage is quite instructive about authorial intent. Paul’s usage of referential prepositions are meant (like all referential prepositions) to point us back to what he has said previously. Here, Paul is clearly stating that the laundry list of sins he catalogs in Rom. 1:21-32 were perpetrated in spite of knowledge about God that all human beings should have been able to intuit from the created order. If you are going to argue against this understanding, then you have to explain (1) what–aside from Gen. 1-2–Paul is referring to in Rom. 1:20 and (2) what the referential prepositions are meant to hearken back to.

            As to your second point, I understand quite well how cultural contexts bear on the biblical texts. What you fail to explain is the lack of explicit qualification in the biblical texts. Claiming that the OT biblical authors would have brooked non-cultic forms of homosexual sex simply because cultic sex was its predominant form is simply a misapplication of contextual material. Lev. 18:22 and Lev. 20:13 simply don’t do what you need them to have done.

            And your case becomes even thinner when we get to the NT. Are you positing that the NT world only knew of cultic forms of homosexual sex? This is simply not the case, and Gagnon does not make this case. Even gay and pro-gay scholars don’t make such a case. The NT world most certainly knew of homosexual sex outside of a cultic context! And again, 1 Cor. 6:9 and 1 Tim. 1:10 (along with the aforementioned Rom. 1:26-27) present us with categorical prohibitions against homosexual sex.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1176355049 Scot Miller

      Steve, you are correct. The problem is that he wants to go beyond what the text asserts and extend the condemnation of abusive cultic practices to non-abusive, mutually fulfilling, loving same-sex relationships. So he wants to be a good, careful scholar and say, “Of course this verse has its origin in condemnations of cultic practices,” but then he enters into ideological dogmatism when he says, “…AND the condemnation therefore applies to any same-sex relationship.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/tami.ortega.5 Tami Ortega

    So I gathered from this letter and the last one, that you are concerned that a reader would get the wrong impression of your views baised on how the quote was used. Well I can put your mind at ease. I read the book and I have read both your letters to Justin and I was not at all surprised by your views. I did feel them to be quite obvious baised on what Justin wrote. So feel free to breath a sigh of relief. All is well.

  • RevBill

    Mr. Gagnon reminds me of the Pharisees, devoted to defending the word of God and being technical correct and argumentative. Mr. Lee reminds me of Jesus who fulfilled the intent of the word of God being relational, correct and caring. I hope that Mr. Lee will prevail.

  • joe_chip

    Good heavens. Attempting to read Gagnon’s ludicrously overwrought flood of text made me feel as if my head was being wrapped up, Shelob-like, in a suffocating web. Does he even realize that his belabored “I love to hear my fingers type” shtick is played out yet?

    In addition to being completely unpersuasive, the whole “I don’t demand an apology, but I actually do, and when you do, this is how you should do it, otherwise it doesn’t count” lecturing comes across as arrogant, obnoxious, and the height of Neckbeard Verbal Kombat. PLEASE take this nonsense to your own blog and stop cluttering up Timothy’s (usually fine blog) with your pedantic internet arguments that are so far afield as to be comical.

    If Mr Gagnon were to comment here and let us know this is all a hilarious Syrah and Doritos fueled late April Fool’s Troll, I would heartily applaud.

  • http://twitter.com/TheBedKeeper Brian Anthony Bowen

    Leviticus may indeed have been about idolatrous male/male sex, but before it was anything else, the acts in Leviticus 18:22 were acts of ADULTERY. WHY does EVERYONE on BOTH sides of the issue miss that? We see the same context in Romans where men “turned from relations with women.” Only men who HAD relations with women can “turn from them.” If they had relations with women, according to Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:16, they were MARRIED. We see Paul base Romans on Leviticus when he says such are “deserving of death” because Leviticus assigned the death penalty in Leviticus 20:13, not because of male/male sex, but because this would represent an act of ADULTERY, hence the key phrase “as with a woman.” We verify this in Leviticus 20:10 and Leviticus 18:20 which BOTH address ADULTERY in context of men who were married to women engaged in adultery with other women. Leviticus clarifies the adultery is adultery, whether it’s with a woman or a man. Adultery violates the 10 Commandments. Gay sex (in and of itself) does not violate the 10 Commandments. But unfortunately, many Christians on BOTH sides of the issue miss this all important context when discussing the clobber passages.

  • Yohanna Keller

    A better suggestion: Jean-Fabrice Nardelli holds his own in ridiculing Gagnon the way Gagnon has accustomed himself to do with his opponents. An open debate between Nardelli and Gagnon would be amusing, to say the least. But perhaps Gagnon fears such a debate. The fact that he has not yet responded to Nardelli’s rejoinder, makes one wonder whether he’s deliberately avoiding engagement with someone who’s clearly his scholarly superior, after exposing Gagnon’s less-than scholarly conclusions, citations, deliberate omissions in his historical-critical analysis of classic texts etc. … He seems to have time to challenge Justin Lee… So why not meet up with Nardelli?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Fred-Smith/100001817115732 Fred Smith

      The operative word in your assessment is “ridiculing”, for once you strip the pompous, condescending Nardelli of all his ad hominem attacks you are left with little. If Gagnon is such an incompetent one wonders why Nardelli has to make such a carbon footprint proving it. It would seem he could have just reduced his diatribe to an out of hand ad hominem attack and left it at that. The reason why the Pharisees missed the point at the time of Christ is because they spent so much time quoting other Rabbis and what they had to say (traditio) that they overlooked the fact that the law had to be interpreted in light of the covenantal context and then applied to contemporary situations (traditium), so they missed the forest for the trees. Nardelli would have been an excellent candidate for being Pharisee of the Year given his ability argue the ridiculous while ignoring the obvious! Indeed a debate between the two Titian would be stimulating, but Nardelli might end up getting smoked like bad French cigarette.


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