A Thoughtful, Reasonable, Pastoral Comment about Same Sex Sex

There have been some real gems among the hundreds and hundreds of comments left on this blog in the past couple weeks.  Among those that bear repeating is this one from Edward Green:

To begin to understand the Bible’s views (and they are various) on sexuality you need to get into the culture.

Sex was something that came with marriage. For women between the
ages of 14 and 18. For men probably a little later. Scripture supports
what we see in society and studies of sexual dysfunction show, that
human beings are designed to be sexually active from late teenage years

When I read the Song of Solomon I find an erotic poem describing
many different diverse acts of love, most of which happen before the
couple are married. Once you key into the imagery there is not much
that is not covered. Love is awakened? Perhaps she fell pregnant. It is
almost implicit. And so they marry.

Pre-marital sex in Scripture means pre-adult sex. It also means the
risks of pregnancy outside of the core economic and family unit. The
Gospels are clear that Mary & Joseph did not marry for love after
all (although I am sure they grew to love each other) and they story
demonstrates the stigma of pre-marital sex. But Joseph’s response was
one of grace (to put her away not shame her), and grace doubled (to
marry Mary). And yes I do hold to the Creedal statements on the Virgin
Birth. But is is the appearance of the situation that should guide our

So the ‘No Sex Before Marriage’ argument doesn’t wash. The ‘Sex is
part of the journey of two people towards life long covenant loving
commitment’ argument does. Contraception offers us more sexual freedom,
but not the freedom to be irresponsible, recreational or promiscuous.
Remember plenty of STI’s are passed on by skin contact, that is by
‘fooling around’. The ideal is one intimate sexual partner for life.

So what of same sex relationships in Scripture? King David, despite
his many wives and concubines turned down the warming of a young girl
on his death bed. The text almost gives us a reason why. His love for
Jonathan exceeded his love for any woman. We are not asking what they
got up to in private here (although the whole exchanging of armour
story makes it pretty clear to me) as that is a secondary issue. Ruth
and Naomi is more complicated. Ruth needed a husband, and is guided in
seducing Boaz by Naomi. Uncovering ‘feet’ on the threshing floor is not
about a pedicure, feet being a handy Hebrew euphemism for genitals.
Gosh aren’t biblical sexual ethics interesting?

Jesus deals directly with a same sex relationship. The Centurion and
his servant who is ‘very dear to him’. Again what they did together in
private is irrelevant, as Gerd Theissen points out in the ‘Shadow of
the Galilean’ observers may well have seen the healing as a blessing of
a same sex relationship even if the relationship was not ‘active’.

The Gospels do dead with serious sexual sin. The abuse of Salome
(probably under-age and brought to dance for Herod’s courts
titillation). The Samaritan woman’s multiple partners. The hypocrisy of
judging others when we have all committed adultery in our hearts.

So we have two theological streams.

Firstly Sex should be part of the journey towards lifelong
commitment. I do believe that a sexual relationship that does not lead
to such a covenant relationship and ends requires repentance. Just as
we should all repent of adultery of the heart. See I do believe in
original sin and there are plenty of sins we commit that we have little
control of.

Secondly there are scriptural examples of covenent loving
relationships between same sex individuals. Although we cannot make
clear conclusions about any physical aspect of those relationships.

Of those ‘6 texts’ the Hebrew ones are the weakest. The shellfish texts shall we say. But Paul’s thinking does raise questions.

It depends on how we read Paul.

If we see Paul as conservative then we are left with the position
held by many evangelical same sex couples I know. They enjoy celibate
covenant loving relationships.

If we see Paul as a liberal radical mystic we may begin to ask
questions about how people born same sex orientated can be fully
grafted in to the covenant of grace as those of us born gentiles are.
Sexual intimacy of some sort is part of this.

As a ‘pastor’ this is how I approach the issue. My ultimate personal
conclusion is that I have no issue with a same sex couple in an unique
covenant relationship expressing that relationship in a physical way.
That could be hugs, it could be kisses, it could be more. I don’t tell
wedding couples what they should do or not do in private in great
detail. The same for same sex couples. I will give them resources to
work with but the degree of celibacy or activity is something they need
to ultimately reconcile for themselves.

And when I do work with folks who are of whatever orientation and
choose to be promiscuous or polyamourous I remember that my eyes still
wander in summer, that I don’t do all I can to combat the sexualisation
of the under-aged, and that I have failed relationships behind me.
Because in my eyes a failed relationship with out full sexual intimacy
(kissing girls/boys at bible camp when you were 17 still counts folks)
still falls short of God’s ideal for us.

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  • Josh Linton

    Hello Tony,
    I’m a confused, undecided minister that wants to extend the heart of Jesus to folks. I know this issue isn’t going away so I have followed your posts with a desire to learn. So with that in mind, would you comment more specifically on your understanding of the euphemism used in Ruth? And the armor exchange? Or point me to your resources. I’ve heard different explanations, but would like to check these out.

  • Mac

    I would also like to advocate a change in the tone and tenor of this conversation. Perhaps all of us could make a more concerted effort to engage in charitable dialogue with one another. And I really mean all of us…
    On the one hand,
    I am deeply saddened by many of the comments that have targeted homosexuals during this discussion. Some have been hurtful. Some have been hateful. I want to encourage those who believe homosexuality is sinful to share their reasons for holding that conviction without being disrespectful or hateful.
    On the other hand,
    I think there have been several people that have tried to charitably share their reasons for believing that homosexuality is sinful and have been quickly put in the conservative camp. Such labels aren’t helpful. Not everyone that believes homosexuality is sinful is necessarily conservative theologically. I want to encourage those who believe homosexuality is morally permissible to avoid transference–that is, when you bring negative feelings and experiences from the past and impose them on the present conversation.
    Not everyone who believes homosexuality is sinful would advocate for the torture of gays or the return of slavery. It is uncharitable to transfer that onto anyone who believes homosexuality is sinful. Not everyone who believes homosexuality is morally permissible simply has no regard for Scripture. It is uncharitable to transfer that onto anyone who believes homosexuality is morally permissible.
    Just because this is a heated discussion does not justify uncharitable dialogue. And I am pretty sure the fruitfulness of this discussion has been exhausted if we can’t start taking tangible steps toward that end.

  • R. Jay Pearson

    Homosexual sex is sinful in the same way heterosexual sex is sinful: when, in its intentions and results, it is destructive to others and/or to the self.
    Homosexual sex is blessed in the same way heterosexual sex is blessed: when, through consensual sharing among adults, its object is the creation of joy and oneness.

  • Edward Green

    Thank you Tony.
    I normally avoid sticking my neck out on this issue. But I had to contribute to a discussion that was increasingly law based with narrative and pastoral concern. I have dropped you and email at your gmail address.
    @ Josh
    I suggest you do some Google searching. On David and Jonathan:
    On Ruth and Boaz:
    These are examples just to demonstrate I am not making this stuff up. There are no absolutes here. Just questions to be asked and sincerely considered.
    For the scholarly stuff I would have to try and dig up my Hebrew Scripture notes and you would have to head down to a good seminary library. There are plenty of Christianity and Sexuality ‘Readers’ out there however from a broader perspective.
    Do be prepared to move out of your comfort zone, meet with the text, and journey with it. It is really quite possible to be radically orthodox. I suspect Paul and Jesus both were.

  • So weird. I’m only familiar with you through reading your book The Sacred Way, but I have no clue what you’re talking about in this post. Maybe I’m not educated enough so if you would just put up with my foolishness a little I’d appreciate it. I’m a Bible College Graduate and a Student Ministry Pastor at a church and we tall people we’re a church for people who don’t like church and we really live up to that, drawing people who have been turned off by church or have never been to church before…like that’s what we specialize in, but one of our Core Values as a church is “Doctrinally Pure-Culturally Relevant” meaning we will do anything short of sin to bring people to come to know who Jesus is. I say all this so you know my mind set in this.
    I’m amazed at some of the comments you make or if you didn’t make them, advocate. First, that you allude to premarital sex being ok is absurd and even non-Christians agree with that. i don’t even have to go to the Bible, though I can, to see that pre-marital sex isn’t right. Studies show (I didn’t do hours of research to compile all the links and resources and sites to list here before writing this comment. Don’t get me wrong, I have done the research an have seen the results, but I haven’t compiled them all here for this comment) that couples who live together before marriage and couples who engage in premarital sex before marriage have a greater chance of getting divorced. This is even couple who have sex heading into marriage. You can’t say sex before marriage is ok because reality proves otherwise. I counsel couples and meet couples who come to our church all the time struggling in their relationship…one of the reasons they say is because they didn’t remain pure before marriage. Also sex is the stuff that unites us with someone making us one with them (1 Corinthians 6:16) whether we are married or not. So now, in this spiritual sense we are one with that person. But when we break off the relationship it’s like we rip this oneness into two, like ripping flesh into two pieces. This is why there is so much baggage and emotional pain brought into marriages where the individuals weren’t pure. God is a God of wisdom (thus the reason for a whole book on wisdom, Proverbs) and if we follow him we need to walk in the path of wisdom. Even if you think pre-marital sex is ok (which it’s not because of reasons I’ve already stated and so much more) it isn’t wise to advise people to do it outside of marriage because that commitment isn’t there as in marriage and it leads to shattered, regret filled, broken relationships and lives. That’s not a theory…it’s reality because I see it all the time.
    Can I just comment on the homosexuality point? First, we need to love all people, straight, gay, bi, transsexual, whatever. We need to love al people because God loves all people and he calls us to love all people. Yet homosexuality is a sin as with lying and cheating, ok so I’m not singling it out as the only sin ever. But it’s a sin because we’re told very explicitly in Romans 1 that when people turned from God he “gave them over to their shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another.” I know the, “well it’s saying lusts, not committed loving relationships is wrong,” thing, but that isn’t what it’s saying. It says there are natural relations and unnatural relations and it groups same sex relations as unnatural. But explain away that passage, fine. I don’t know how this can be explained away:
    1 Cor. 6:9 tells us, “Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals ” and 1 Timothy 1:9-11 says, “9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers, 10 for the sexually immoral, for those practicing homosexuality, for slave traders and liars and perjurers. And it is for whatever else is contrary to the sound doctrine 11 that conforms to the gospel concerning the glory of the blessed God, which he entrusted to me. ”
    Thee passages mention homosexuality in a list of other sins. I’m not singling homosexuality out, but if we’re going to say lying is a sin (I don’t know how we can say it isn’t) then we have to say homosexuality is a sin as well because it’s in that same list of things actions and lifestyles of the “ungodly and sinful.” This is too long.
    In summation I felt the need to write this because when you care about people and you see them going the wrong way you say something and with you being a teacher of people along with me, we’ll be held at a higher standard than those who aren’t. If I saw a friend drowning and didn’t help them I wouldn’t be much of a friend. I don’t even know you, but I care about you and I care about the people who are going to come under your influence and I’d hate for people to think remaining in a sin is ok (again no matter the sin whether it’s homosexuality or lying.)You can’t take homosexuality out of those lists of other sins or say those are sins but homosexuality isn’t or say none of them are sins because they clearly are from other places in the Bible. I don’t know how you can get around it and our goal shouldn’t even be to get around stuff in the Bible. And I don’t know how you could lead people astray and sleep at night condoning premarital sex when in the wake of this teaching that it’s ok is failed marriage, shattered relationships, and broken hearts.

  • Benjamin Burgess

    Hello old friend, I find myself here again.
    What I desire to say has already been summed up in many of the above comments. The people that commented here DO love you Tony, know that. Indeed the arguement you posted is a tough one. So here is what I suggest. At the beginning of your blog you mentioned following the bible whole-heartedly (in more or less words). And the arguements put up by everyone each have their own validity yet even to the smallest degree, contain a small bit of bias. That’s EVERYONE not including or excluding the said “conservative christians”.
    If you really believe what you said, that we should follow God’s Word whole-heartedly then let’s do just that. I suggest that if you are still unsatisfied with these answers that we go through each “problem text” together exegetically. There is no greater authority than God’s Word (the bible) so let’s put an end to this one verse at a time. Be warned though, God’s Word contains irrevokable truth and should you be confronted by it you will be forced to make a decision…submit to God’s authority and ultimate plan for your life? Or turn away…it will be your decision alone…
    Yours in Christ,
    Benjamin B.

  • Edward Green

    Would everyone please note that these are my thoughts from a pastoral perspective rather than Tony’s thoughts.
    @ James.
    In a sense I agree with you James. God’s ideal for us is that we meet young with a wonderful person, fall in love, join together in physical intimacy and spend the rest of our lives together in a (pro)creative covenant relationship.
    I didn’t say that sexual relationships outside of this ideal didn’t require repentance. I am conservative with myself on this. I am sorry for every girl I ever kissed who wasn’t my covenant lover and partner. However I recognize that all of this was part of growing up and being human.
    In terms of pastoral care I echo your thoughts. But I have also had the task of working with people who have been totally de-sexualised by the conservative church culture to the point where there marriage lacks intimacy or enjoyment or they cannot find a partner. Mostly because they have been trained to see members of the opposite sex as brothers and sisters rather than potential lovers. Talk about a head job!
    And then the countless married couples whose intimacy has nothing like the depth or excitement of the erotic guide God gave us in the Song of Songs.
    We are human and broken, and find ourselves in a cycle of grace as God reveals to us more and more of how it was and how it will be. We live in a fallen world between Eden and the new Jerusalem. A time when there was one person for each person and a time when gender and sex will pass away to be replaced by an even greater intimacy with each other and the divine.
    When I marry a couple who have been living together for many years, maybe even have children (and most couples I marry do not come to Church) I talk about seeking God’s blessing for something that already exists between them. To be honest in God’s eyes they are already married but I delight with them that they want to tell the world of their love, for God is love, and where love is, quite simply, God is.

  • Your Name

    I am not perfect as is no one nor am I well versed with scripture, however, what about Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians? In it we find teachings about fornication as well as in the Gospels on clean and unclean. Therefore, what do we class as “fornication”. For example, pre marital sex, pornagraphy, masturbation and of course the controversial issue of same sex relationships. Personally, I do not agree with homosexual acts as I do not consider them to be moral. However, if that is how people want to live then that is their call. However, in Britian it is a taboo subject as many people beleive the Church to be old fashioned as well as intolerant. However, for the sake of clarity, being homosexual is not a sin as one can live a life of celibacy (up to the people involved), homosexual acts are considered to be a sin by the Church (Roman Catholic). It involves free will, people choose wehther or not to accept God’s teaching’s and of course Church teachning on moral issues due to certain factors such as interpretation and of course their lifestyle that may be threatened. Clarity is important here as well as love, compassion and of ocourse repentance.

  • Josh Linton

    Ahh. Thank you Edward. I didn’t understand this was you, I thought Tony had simply linked to your comment and then continued. Anyway, thanks for the direction. I’ll check it out and begin the struggle.

  • Husband

    ” homosexual acts are considered to be a sin by the Church (Roman Catholic)”
    The Roman Catholic Church is not “the” (as in the one and only) Church. I am not Catholic. Why should I be required to abide by the tenets of a Church to which I do not belong? Why should people who are not members of ANY Church be so required?
    My Church/faith denomination, as well as at least 6 other ‘major’ faiths, disagree on the topic.
    “The Church (TM) is not of one accord on the issue.
    If it were so “clear”, this debate would not be happening.

  • Homosexual sex is sinful in any way shape or form.
    The Bible tells us this in no uncertain terms.
    Homosexuals ought be welcome in the church as are we, sinners all.
    We don’t flaunt or advovate our sins. The mistake many are making in the church is to make sin, not sin and to throw God’a law out the window.
    This is wrong and does not bode well for the church, or for society.

  • churchmouse

    “So the ‘No Sex Before Marriage’ argument doesn’t wash. The ‘Sex is part of the journey of two people towards life long covenant loving commitment’ argument does. Contraception offers us more sexual freedom, but not the freedom to be irresponsible, recreational or promiscuous. Remember plenty of STI’s are passed on by skin contact, that is by ‘fooling around’. The ideal is one intimate sexual partner for life.”
    So playing devils advocate here…..
    If sex is ok outside the marriage bed…where does it say anything about limited partners one can have? Is sex bad? He says the “journey between two people”………..you mean I can’t be in a committed relationship with three or more people?
    “The Ideal”? The ideal is what God instituted not what society says is right.
    I find it really intolerant what this author says becuase he has hurt the many people who are in group marriages. He is making it up as he goes alongggggggg.
    I would ask the author…..what is wrong with being sexually promiscuous? I laugh when I hear someone think that because a relationship is long, its ok. Like how long is ok with God?
    Does He care how many sexual partners we have? And how long those relationships last?
    Please show me scripture.

  • This is a heart issue for God in my humble opinion. God is Love.
    However, Love does at times come with parameters and safety nets to prevent our loved ones from getting hurt. It is my opinion that God’s intent with sex and sexuality is solely to protect our hearts. Story…,
    I was at a party that I put on for my son’s college graduation. Many of his friends and I go way back and they have a sincere love and respect for my wife and I. I knew that I would potentially get into some good conversations and I did. One happened to be on pre-marital sex. As 6 or 7 of the kids were standing around talking to me about the topic, I asked the question – who here has been in love? All raised their hand. I then asked – who had sex with that person? All raised their hand. I then asked – who is still with that other person? No raised hand. Final question – How did it feel when you split up? Everyone of the responses was very similar except one who said “I’m glad the bi@&% is gone!”. Those responses were all responses of pain, and even that one, was one of pain too! So.. I said, exactly. See God is not some cosmic killjoy trying to take away your fun – He Loves you and is trying to protect your heart. You know have a scar on your heart that will never go away; and he was trying to prevent that. They all just stood there in momentary silence; until one of them spoke up and said – “Whoa Richie, that is some heavy sh$#! I never heard anyone talk about God like that before man. You’ve given me something to really think about dude.” I just kinda smile and then walked off with one of the cats that was going through some relational stuff at that time.
    This is what I think about the above. It is a heart issue – not an issue of debate. God is trying to protect us from ourselves, contraception is just an excuse to spit in God’s eye and say – “I’ll do Love my own way – thank you very much!”; until their pregnant, or fathering a child that may or may not be aborted; or they have contracted some sort of oral STD; etc….
    The promiscuity involved in a sexually free society is destroying the hearts of the people involved and we just keep allowing ourselves to become damaged goods before we finally end up with someone who will finally have us, and by that time our heart has been all used up or scarred so badly, we can’t love anyone to the fullest. It is a sad, sad state of affairs we find ourselves in – we have millions of broken hearts that could have been prevented.
    Just my take. Take it or leave it.

  • churchmouse

    Richie great post, God bless.

  • belgium

    sin is sin no matter if its homosexuality, sex before marriage or just being passive in your walk with Christ as it seems you are. you can not take scripture and try and make it fit into modern culture scripture is not cultural its Gods words based off of Gods principals, and God is not Cultural. and Gods word does not change as time goes on Just because culture and customs change and grow farther from God. God doesn’t change his word or say that we should make it fit into our culture. truth is truth it hurts and its hard like a wall. homosexuality is a sin and we should still love those who fall into it we should not hate them or despise them. we should love them and pray and fight with them being there to support every need we can to help get them through there sin.

  • panthera

    Tony, how on earth does one reason with these people?
    Jesus’ freedom from the dictates of the law in exchange for God’s forgiveness of our failings is irrelevant to them!

  • Matt

    As an 18 year old male growing up in America I have seen many varied ideal on how the Bible should be interpreted. I now say three words that any kind person dislikes to say: You are wrong. Here is why you are wrong. First off, the Bible clearly states in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 a little something about homosexuality. Heres what it says: “9 Do you not know that the WICKED will NOT inheret the kingdom of God? Do NOT be DECIEVED: Niether the SEXUALLY IMMORAL nor the idolaters no ADULTERERS nor MALE PROSTITUTES nor HOMOSEXUAL OFFENDERS 10 bor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” I took the liberty of putting the major points of verse nine that you contradicted.

  • panthera

    What version of the Bible are you using? There is no reference to homosexuality in First Corinthians!
    Honestly, the American conservative Christians are going far to far when they start twisting the words in the Bible to fit their hate-driven goals.
    This is false witness.

  • Benjamin Burgess

    Philosophy has clearly betrayed us all here. Because if you believe in something hard enough it MUST be true. But of course that has to do with what life cirsumstances formed our life and how we we’re raised.
    Panthera, Ed, Tony, and any other folks on here who might be frustrasted as to why little to no progress is made on this issue. I would suggest you go to the source. More specifically the Books and/or chapters, verses that speak on homosexuality. If you are REALLY interested in changing my opinion about this topic you will have to go the source and authority by which I answer.
    I say it again for the sake of redundancy. The only way this debate is going to make leeway, is if we take the verses one by one…a slower process to be sure. But seeing that everyone’s own philosophy trumps anyone else’s I’d say this would be the way to go…

  • Husband

    Steve Martin (isn’t he the comedian?),
    “Homosexual sex is sinful in any way shape or form.”
    According to your religious beliefs. Not according to all religiions/religionists.
    The Bible tells us this in no uncertain terms.
    If it were ‘certain’, this debate would not be happening.
    Homosexuals ought be welcome in the church”
    “should” being the oprative word. So how come they’re not?
    “We don’t flaunt … our sins.”
    Gov. Sanford shure ‘flaunted’ (still flaunts) his.

  • Husband

    “you mean I can’t be in a committed relationship with three or more people?”
    Um, cm, yuo should look up the word commitment. It sorta means, “I choose you, not a group of people.
    Try again, but DO BETTER!
    P.S. Yes, I agree, I think you are “the devil’s advocate”.

  • Richie

    I guess it all comes down to one’s interpretation; here are the translations I checked out:
    ASV – supposedly the most literal translation according to some:
    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (American Standard Version)
    9 Or know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men,
    10 nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.
    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (New American Standard Bible)
    9Or (A)do you not know that the unrighteous will not (B)inherit the kingdom of God? (C)Do not be deceived; (D)neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor [a]effeminate, nor homosexuals,
    10nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will (E)inherit the kingdom of God.
    1 Corinthians 6:9 I.e. effeminate by perversion
    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (Today’s New International Version)
    9 Or do you not know that wrongdoers will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor practicing homosexuals 10 nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
    1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (English Standard Version)
    9Or do you not know that the unrighteous[a] will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived:(A) neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,[b] 10nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.
    a. 1 Corinthians 6:9 Or wrongdoers
    b. 1 Corinthians 6:9 The two Greek terms translated by this phrase refer to the passive and active partners in consensual homosexual acts
    Now I am no scholar and I am certainly not a hateful person; but I don’t see a whole lot of ambiguity in the above at all? The only translations I did not see the word homosexuality were the paraphrase versions, but most all direct translations carry the word? So.., I am not sure what to say, other than that what it comes down to for most of us who are discipling other folks, is that is comes down to whether or not homosexuality, fornication, and sexual immorality is sin? I personally do think they are, but those sins in my humble opinion are no different than any other sin under the sun. The fact is, we must handle all things with Grace, Mercy, and Love. Unconditional Love at times requires tough love – no? We lovingly guide people into communion with God and let Him change them – it is not ours to judge nor change. We should be come as you are people; but that does not mean God wants you to stay as you are, especially if one is involved in repetitive sin habits of any kind.
    I have to say, that I find the comments about David and Jonathan and Ruth and Naomi disturbing and a bit whack. To imply some sort of hidden innuendos or agenda implied in those stories is really taking the idea of covenant out of context. So.. are you implying then that the covenant between God and Abraham included some sort of twisted sexual meaning too? What of Jesus and us under the new covenant? Tony, I like the idea of thinking outside the box, but dude, come on man? You are reading so much between the text and the lines of scripture it is pretty damn scary brother? If you know anything of centurions and their servants, they were their most trusted companions and they knew the most intimate of secrets about their leader. Look at the movie Gladiator and the relationship between he and his servant. Although it is a Hollywood script it reveals nicely the relationship between the two, but sexual? Mmmm.., I don’t’ think so bro?
    Again.., I’ll say, to love someone unconditionally, does not mean you let them do whatever they want and then get things twisted to appease. It means loving them and guiding through the tough issues of life and not just leaving them there?

  • Panthera

    Neither the original Luther (in German) nor either of the two primary Latin sources for the King James Version mention the term ‘homosexual’ or any of its derivatives.
    The trouble with these modern English texts is that they were written by people who wanted to advance their agenda by adding words to the Bible which were never there before.
    I am not a theologist nor yet a biblical scholar and, as English is not my native tongue I do not assign the supremacy to English text which American conservative Christians do. It does seem to me, however, that using a perverted, agenda driven text which has been adulterated by hateful people is not a good basis for any discussion on whether I am to be recognized as fully human or not.

  • dustin germain

    the lack of biblical scholarship in these posts are astounding. as to that pastor- how on earth are you interpreting the servant as a homosexual partner to the centurion? as for you, panthera, you have effectively avoided the question. the word in question in 1 corinthians 6:9 is arsenokoites. what do you imagine that this means?

  • churchmouse

    “To begin to understand the Bible’s views (and they are various) on sexuality you need to get into the culture.”
    To really understand you have to get into the Word and let the Holy Spirit convict your understanding of it. Cultures change, the Word does not.
    “that human beings are designed to be sexually active from late teenage years onwards”
    Human beings were designed to worship and obey God. And with that comes obedience and acceptance that it’s not about what we think is right, it’s about what God says is right. Scripture says that all sex outside marriage is sin, whether we were designed for having sex or not. Marriage is made up of one woman and one man.
    “Pre-marital sex in Scripture means pre-adult sex.”
    Heresy. It means you are sinning no matter what age you are if you have sex and are NOT married.
    Song of Solomon is about a married woman, Solomon’s Queen as she recalls their early life together and the wedding night. The sex that took place was married sex.
    “The ‘Sex is part of the journey of two people towards life long covenant loving commitment’ argument does. Contraception offers us more sexual freedom, but not the freedom to be irresponsible, recreational or promiscuous. Remember plenty of STI’s are passed on by skin contact, that is by ‘fooling around’. The ideal is one intimate sexual partner for life.”
    Sex is part of the journey for married couples, only then does God bless it. Many contraceptions have the ability to cause abortions and that is sin. This is not sexual freedom that is condoned by God, it is evil. Being irresponsible is to sin and this is foolish. STT’s are passed by people who are sinning and very well could be punishments from God. The ideal God states in the Word is………. sex only experienced by a married couple.
    Nothing in scripture says that David and Jonathan and Ruth and Naomi were lovers. These couples had friendships that were condoned by God. This is twisting scripture to fit the gay agenda. Nowhere does the Bible say these friendships were sexual.
    Blessings are for those who live a certain way. They are happy, not as the result of feeling a certain feeling (which may refer more to contentment), but because they have lived life well, that is, according to Biblical truth.

  • panthera

    dustin germain,
    Since I reject a literal interpretation of the Bible, it matterth to me not that some passages reject homosexuality.
    Who cares? The Bible also forbids wearing mixed fabrics and eating shellfish.
    The term “arsenokoites”, however, is only given a fixed meaning by Christian fundamentalists. Every other linguist acknowledges that this is one possible meaning yet allows for other interpretations.
    Look, you can base your hatred of me on the Bible as much as you like. I don’t care. What I do care about, very much, is your imposing your hateful views upon me through the government. The National Socialists did that, you are one with them in your goals.

  • dustin germain

    panthera. first of all, i don’t hate you, nor have i said anything remotely hateful towards you, so please, stop projecting. are in, in fact a christian? second of all, how do you know that god forbids wearing mixed fabrics and eating shellfish? if you don’t take the bible literally, what makes you think the commandments against eating shellfish is literal? did jesus literally rise from the dead? was jesus literally god?

  • dustin germain

    and pathera, you are being very inconsistent. first you say that 1 corinthians says nothing about homosexuality, and now you say that it does, but that arsenokoites has many possible meanings. [i will try to give you credit and assume you are thinking of pederasty alone] but paul understood that arsenokoites meant more than that. [read the works of polybius]. for you to say that only fundamental christians understand arsenokoites as homosexual in they typical sense is just plain intellectually dishonest, as well as scathingly ignorant.

  • panthera

    dustin germain:
    1) Yes, I am a Christian.
    2) Since the term ‘homosexual’ was not even invented until the late 19th century, it is you not me who is projecting a false world view onto the Bible, including 1 Corinthians.
    3) So we are now fully capable of knowing exactly the ‘correct’ interpretation of Paul’s thoughts? I do believe that is referred to as twisting scripture to fit one’s own needs when non-fundamentalist Christians do it.
    4) Since when do I have to believe the nonsense in much of the Bible to recognize God’s love and forgiveness for my sins? Explain, please, since you take things literally, just exactly where the rest of us came from after Cain killed Abel? Or before, for that matter, both having been male.
    5) Even if I were to allow that arsenokoites is meant in the context you so desire, who cares? Paul was wrong there, as he was on many other things. He didn’t like women, he didn’t care for sex, he was not a big fan of marriage – neither mine nor yours.
    Look, I don’t give a plug nickel what sort of nonsense you believe in your hateful church. When you try to force the rest of Christianity (hint: outside of the US, most Western Christians don’t oppose gay marriage)to bend our necks to your version of our religion, I care a great deal. Freedom of religion means you are free to reject me from your nasty, twisted, hateful church. Great. It also means you have to keep your hands off of my secular civil and human rights.

  • irene

    hmm ok here’s what I was thinking….I’m just wondering if you are struggling with homosexuality. It seems like you’re going out of your way to justify all of this.

  • dustin germain

    Again, you are being childishly obstinate in your refusal to understand basic etymology and meaning of words. The word trinity was not invented until after the bible was written, do we say that because of that, a Trinitarian deity cannot exist. I mean really now. That is your argument? That is pretty shameful and kind of awkward and embarrassing to read. The reality of the situation is that people know what homosexuality was back in the day. And they wrote about it. And it’s condemned in 1 Corinthians, and you really have no recourse to deny it.
    As to your fourth point, I find it extremely arrogant that you would dare to assume that God’s love for you is true and literal, and that you can trust that you are forgiven. Who says that you are? You have no assurance, because you don’t know if those promises are true and/or literal. The only source you have which tells you that is the bible, which you believe is a collection of lies and allegories. What makes you so sure that you are forgiven? Or that Christ rose from the dead? Or that Christ was God? It’s intellectual dishonesty to dismiss half the book as lies, and then pick and choose which parts of it are certain and true.
    As for your fifth point- why don’t you just throw out half the new testament? After all, Paul was a liar who made up stuff so he could subjugate women and spread his false ideas about sex and homosexuality, right? He was probably lying when he wrote that Jesus appeared to him and confirmed his message, and that when Christ made him an apostle. And Luke was really deceived, because he followed Paul around for years, and then Luke wrote his gospel and the acts of the apostles- two more books which we probably can’t trust, as Luke must have been pretty sketchy and deceived to have hung around Paul for decades. And Peter and Barnabbas, they also spent a ton of time with Paul. Were they too deceived by this man? Why didn’t they excommunicate him?
    As far as your last point…uh…..yeah- pretty much all Christian churches worldwide oppose homosexuality. What a weird “statistic” to point out. Did you really think it had a chance of being believed?

  • panthera

    dustin germain,
    You are no more literal in your interpretation of the Bible than am I, you just chose to pretend you are.
    Or do you really maintain that the earth is flat and the sun circles the earth?
    I am very glad, indeed, that my salvation rests with Christ and not people like you.
    Look, you will never change my mind. I will never change your mind. All we are doing is to drag down this otherwise very useful thread with our throwing comments at each other.
    Henceforth, I shall ignore any comments you make. I can’t do a thing about your hatefulness, I can and shall, however, not be a further party to it.

  • Matt

    Panthera you are a very condescending/ hateful person, it must be tough always having a case of the grumpies

  • panthera

    Tell you what, Matt.
    Let’s call you a pedophile.
    Let’s say we want to torture you.
    Let’s threaten to dissolve your marriage.
    Let’s take away your children.
    Let’s deny you are a Christian.
    Let’s pretend your immutable sexuality is a ‘choice’.
    Let’s state that you are disordered and perverted.
    Then let’s compare your 25 year monogamous, faithful, true, loyal and loving partnership to a nasty old man sexually abusing a boy.
    How, then, would you feel towards such people.

  • Panthera,
    I am sorry that some ill-equipped and apparently illiterate church people bashed you and called you such things as mentioned above.
    Let me ask you something. Would you agree that if you looked at the entire narrative of the scripture as a whole, that #1 – the issue of same sex sexual relations is looked upon by God as stated in scripture as a negative and not good thing; and #2 – Given that, can you show me anywhere scripturally or even in any early church writings that condone such lifestyles?
    I for one have not found anything to refute the entire narrative of the scriptures. Sooo.., what this comes down to, is not whether or not you or I think that this lifestyle is sin or not, but what does God say about it? Is it sin or is it not? All of my reading and all of my instinct tell me (not based on bias or hatred) that God believes this to be wrong. So.., I then go back to my original post and ask – how do we “lovingly” teach this concept without being looked at a judgmental or non-loving?
    I personally think that the idea of a person’s sexuality not-being a choice is a result of the fall of mankind away from God. However you read the narrative or story in Genesis – the premise is that man fell into a sinful lifestyle. My feeling is that as a result of that fall, the fallen state of mankind has infiltrated the DNA/Gene pool and lifespan; sexual DNA, etc.., has been destroyed or disrupted, and hence the reason for identity issues. Just a thought, but it may hold some validity? Just because as the narrative describes something has been made that way because of the fall, it does not mean that it is necessarily what God intended or wants for that person or people to be? Just a thought?
    I dunno.., this is such a tough subject and from a leadership perspective, we are damned if we do and damned if don’t? That is why I ascribe to – “In all things Grace; and in all things Love.”

  • Panthera

    No, I do not believe that God has problems with my committed, faithful, loyal, true, monogamous and loving marriage.
    There is an enormous conflict between Paul’s position on marriage (do it only if you have to) and the supposed demand of the Bible otherwise that we all marry someone of the opposite sex.
    Basically, I think it comes down to this. Once you take a look at what virtually all medical professionals say, once you reference the extensive data on gay marriages (including civil partnerships) in those countries which permit them, once you see how well children raised by gays turn out, it is impossible to see the lifestyle of a monogamous, committed gay marriage as something wrong or bad.
    And that, I think, is a large part of the problem here. You refer to ‘lifestyle’ as if my marriage were somehow other than a monogamous, faithful, committed, true, loyal and loving heterosexual marriage. It isn’t. It’s a bit as if I were to look at the ‘lifestyle’ of all those Republican and TV-Evangelicals who bash us constantly yet cheat on their wives all over the place. To be fair, the conservative Christian ‘lifestyle’ on that basis is hardly one I’d want me children exposed to.
    So, nope, sorry, but the Bible does not condemn me. It certainly condemns cheap sex and prostitution and very much condemns the typical lifestyle of popular conservative Christians, tho’.
    By the by, all high order mammals have the same percent of homosexuals as do humans. In all these groups, the gays are an evolutionary advantage. I don’t see why God wouldn’t want this for us.

  • Bobby Ray Hurd

    I’ve been exploring some of N.T Wright’s views on Paul and Homosexuality. While I understand that Paul has to be viewed in relationship to Jesus, perhaps it would be useful to read the words of a man whom I believe is the most trustworthy Biblical scholar of the last 30 years.
    Here’s the link:
    What do you think about this Tony? (and everyone else!)

  • noah

    Hey Tony.
    Does your computer have a spell check feature? if not, you should look into getting one on Microsoft Word. I would encourage you to use it. It is very helpful so that you do not look like an uneducated fool in a public forum like this…
    By the way, great job on twisting scripture.

  • noah, you fell into the trap of criticising someone’s spelling whilst negleting your own grammar. After using a “?” you need a capital letter.
    Ignore the spelling and grammar. Concentrate on the content!

  • Your Name

    Ok..please, please, please…understand that I’m am not trying to bait anyone but a want honest feedback. WARNING: please leave emotions at the door. I just want cut and dried theological discussion. I am a christian who loves Jesus and is homosexual. Years ago I was part of a 2 year live-in program – part of the ex-gay movement. To this day I love the people who started because I think they truly believed and still do believe this is what God has for them to do. With that being said..it worked of none of us. Out of 30 guys 6 years out of the program, 6 took their lives, 8 died of AIDS and the rest of us are still wandering around in the desert
    At one point during the program we started to argue about the fact that there were plenty of very pointed scriptures having to do with God’s disapproval of homosexual sex. And Paul’s admonition that they were part of the group that would not inherit the kingdom of God. To my knowledge however there is not one SPECIFIC scripture damning suicide in the same way homosexuality is. Yes the general gist is that God does not want us to do ourselves in. BUT…given the choice between the definite chance of being ‘lost’ with homosexual option A and a better chance of making it to the kingdom through option B suicide (As horrific as that statement is)…at times the leaders would in roundabout ways suggest they’d rather we take the chance with choice B then live a homosexual life that would quite possibly put us in the worst place to spent eternity. In a sick sense, suicide was an option.Please understand…this is a horrible issue and I hate discussing it, but when pushed against the wall 2 friends chose to end their lives because they found it impossible to live single celibate lives. Perhaps suicide is a safety valve of sorts. I know, I know, I sound crazy,…AND I AM NOT SUICIDAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!but I just want some purely NON_EMOTIONAL feedback on a theological level only. thanks.

  • Husband

    Your name,
    What a sad story – so much unnecessary loss. I hope this is of some help …
    “we started to argue about the fact that there were plenty of very pointed scriptures having to do with God’s disapproval of homosexual sex”
    There aren’t “plenty” of such Scriptures; there’s a total of 6 in the entire Bible (google: clobber verses). And, they do not, as was sold to you, have to do “with God’s disapproval of homosexual sex”. What they ‘disapprove’ of is: homosexual lust, homosexul rape, and homosexual temple/cult prostitution. (These references and citations are found all over the net.)
    Apart from David’s love for Jonathon (“surpassing the love of women”), and the story of the centurion who’s “slave was dear to him” [some will tell you these were not sexual relationships, but I don’t buy it after much research in Concordances and verious translations/versions of Scripture and reading many respected Biblical scholars], there are no references to consenting, loving, committed, adult, human, same-sex relationships in the Bible (again, apart from that of Ruth’s devotion to Naomi, which I don’t think was sexual at all, but their vows have been usurped for use in heterosexual marriages).
    Christ Himself was silent on the issue and it certainly isn’t mentioned in the 10 Commandments, nor inthe 2 that Christ left us with.
    As for seeking “NON-EMOTIONAL” theological discussions on the topic, I’m afraid you won’t find them here on Beliefnet. Too much fundamentalist baggage – from all quarters.

  • Husband

    I think Panthera left because of all the hostility he encountered here. So let me answer for him…
    “Let me ask you something. Would you agree that if you looked at the entire narrative of the scripture as a whole, that #1 – the issue of same sex sexual relations is looked upon by God as stated in scripture as a negative and not good thing;”
    No. I would not agree. See my comments above to Your Name. The kinds of relationships we are discussing are almost entirely absent in the Bible, and the 6 references that are there do not address them. As mentioned, they address homosexual rape, homosexual lust and homosexual cult/temple prostitution. And I have no problems with those condemnations.
    “and #2 – Given that”
    Sorry, but it isn’t a “given”.
    “can you show me anywhere scripturally or even in any early church writings that condone such lifestyles?”
    The “lifestyles” we are discussing are not what you are discussing. And therein lies the problem. Of course, the problem begins when/because you only think of us having sex – constantly referring to some vague, erroneous “lifestyle” and not God’s gay and lesbian children actually living our lives, fully and under God’s care.
    I see no where in Scripture where David’s love for Jonathan was not “condoned”. But your side won’t acknowledge it for what it actually was, so there’s hardly any point in discussing things we cannot even agree on to begin with.
    As for the “early Church writings” (or at least, what we have left of them), have been greatly altered/edited over time. Many people here on B’net are scholars of Aramaic, Hebrew, Greek (in which those “writings’ were written), I would recommend the research of both Dr. Tom Hanks (not the actor) and John Boswell (former head of the Medieval History dept. at Yale), among others. There are documented cases of same-sex relationships not only flourishing, but actually be blessed within the Church. Google Saints Sergius and Bachus, for one example.

  • Brian

    Hey guys:
    First of all my name is Brian. I guess I pressed the enter key when I was posting before I entered all my info.
    Thank you for your posts. Because I didn’t quite know how personal I could get – besides the suicides I mentioned..there is one more that is just about destroying me. My partner of 8 years, took his life on August 4th. It was basically alcohol and he just couldn’t stop. He’d been Sober (AA) for 20 years and then one day turned to me and said ‘Brian I’m just so so tired of this fight, I’m going to start drinking again and let the chips fall where they will. Needless to say he lost his job and our relationship ended. I left in July – defeated, so full of despair, and fear for Bradley eventually succumbing to liver damage or another alcohol related disease.
    I know he was a Christian. He loved Jesus and loved to praise him. My questions:
    1. Does sometimes God take his children out of this world because of he knows how much we can and cannot handle, especially when it gets into the psychiatric/chemical/addiction issue?
    2. What do you think God’s view is on suicide? I know we were given our lives by him and I know the blood that Jesus shed on the cross brought us redemption forever, so in that sense our lives are his and not ours to take. But given his mercy and grace how does he view it in light of the psych issues I just mentioned. I guess in my grief- I’m trying to figure out God’s take on it. Perhaps it’s something we can’t know on this side.
    Again, thank you for your reply(s)
    Blessings. Brian

  • Phillip

    There are a couple of books that may be of help with questions regarding Christianity and homosexuality, “Christianity, Social Tolerance and Homosexuality” and Same Sex Unions in Pre-Modern Europe” both were written by John Boswell of Yale University. They are very well researched and for the most part quite accessible. I would recommend consulting them for anyone who has an interest in the relationship between church and sexuality.

  • Johanna

    I got married in the 1970s when being gay was definitely not an option if you wanted to have a family and wanted to be considered a regular part of life in a community. We did what we believed God wanted- to wait for sex until we are married and started having children. We were leaders in our church- serving God, loved our kids, worked hard, etc. It seemed like something was wrong though- an undercurrent hard to explain. After 13 years of marriage, I found out my spouse “struggled” with homosexual feelings. So the next ten years, with the support of people in our church and family, we were involved in the ex-gay ministry and counselling, first as participants and later as leaders. We prayed like crazy for God to change my spouse and were very committed to our marriage. After ten years, I was very depressed, and my spouse was a shell of the person I married. He spent most of his energy trying not to be who he is. His mental and physical health deteriorated. We really cared about each other and after 30 years of marriage are divorced. I have seen first hand what these anti-gay beliefs do to a person. My ex-spouse cannot make himself attend my pentecostal church because he cannot be there without someone regarding who he is as sinful, and he cannot tolerate it anymore. He loves God, is gifted in the Holy Spirit, but cannot function as any other person in the church without people wanting to pray for him to change. It reminds me of when the Holy Spirit fell on the gentiles and the Jews now had to deal with that issue. It breaks my heart to see people who really want to be part of the church community, just like everyone else, can’t be. I feel bad for people like Brian who have experienced so much pain, yet I also find it incredible that God is still able to let His presence be known to them, outside of our little clubhouse. How much richer our church would be if we would welcome all the missing people. So what do people from the GLBT community do when they long for intimacy and connection just like every other human being. Marry a straight person and hope they get “cured” Think about the continued damage done not just to the GLBT person but all the others that fit into your “solutions”. It’s not just the GLBT person that is damaged by these view points, but their unsuspecting spouses and children. Statistically speaking, 80% of mixed orientation marriages (estimated at 2 million in North America) end up in divorce. That’s a lot of pain.

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